Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court
Established 1836
Country Michigan
 United States
Location Lansing
Composition method Non-partisan election
Authorized by Michigan Constitution
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Judge term length 8 years
No. of positions 7 (including chief justice)
Website Official Website
Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
Currently Stephen Markman
Since January 6, 2017

The Michigan Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is Michigan's court of last resort and consists of seven justices. The Court is located in the Michigan Hall of Justice at 925 Ottawa Street in Lansing, the state capital.


Each year, the Court receives approximately 2,000 new case filings. In most cases, the litigants seek review of Michigan Court of Appeals decisions, but the Supreme Court also hears cases of attorney and judicial misconduct, as well as a small number of matters over which the Court has original jurisdiction.

The Court issues a decision by order or opinion in all cases filed with it. Opinions and orders of the Court are reported in an official publication, Michigan Reports, as well as in Thomson West's privately published North Western Reporter.

Administration of the courts

The Court's other duties include overseeing the operations of all state trial courts. It is assisted in this endeavor by the State Court Administrative Office,[1] one of its agencies. The Court's responsibilities also include a public comment process for changes to court rules, rules of evidence and other administrative matters. The court has broad superintending control power over all the state courts in Michigan.

Article 6, Section 30 of the Michigan Constitution creates the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. This is an agency within the judiciary, having jurisdiction over allegations of judicial misconduct, misbehavior, and infirmity. The Supreme Court is given original, superintending control power, and appellate jurisdiction over the issue of penalty (up to and including removal of judges from office).[2]


The Michigan Supreme Court can be dated back to the Supreme Court of Michigan Territory, established in 1805 with three justices. These justices served for indefinite terms. In 1823, the terms of justices were limited to four years.

The Michigan Supreme Court was the only court created by the first Michigan constitution in 1835. It had three members and each also oversaw one of the three judicial circuits, located in Detroit, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo. The court needed a quorum of two to operate and members were appointed to seven-year terms by the governor with the consent of the senate. In 1838, Justice William A. Fletcher proposed a new plan for the court that the legislature approved. This increased the number of circuits to four and thus expanded the bench to four justices, but left the quorum at two.

In 1848, the court was expanded to five justices and the 1850 Michigan constitution provided that they be elected for six-year terms. In 1858, the Circuit Courts were split from the Supreme Court, so justices now only served on the Michigan Supreme Court and reduced its size to only four justices, one of whom was the Chief Justice.

In 1887, the court was expanded to five justices each serving for ten years. The court was again expanded in 1903 to eight justices serving terms of eight-years. In 1964, the new state constitution set the number of justices on the court at seven.


The Supreme Court consists of seven justices who are elected to eight-year terms. Candidates are nominated by political parties and are elected on a nonpartisan ballot. Supreme Court candidates must be qualified electors, licensed to practice law in Michigan for at least five years, and under 70 years of age at the time of election. Vacancies are filled by appointment of the Governor until the next general election. Every two years, the justices elect a member of the Court to serve as Chief Justice.

The Michigan Constitution allows vacancies on the state Supreme Court to be initially filled by the Governor, with that appointee serving until the next general election, at which time the elected winner is seated to fill the remaining portion of the vacated term.[3]

Current Justices

Following the 2012 election, the court had a 4-3 conservative Republican majority, with Robert P. Young Jr. serving as Chief Justice. The resignation of Justice Diane Hathaway in January 2013 created a 4-2 majority, and her position was filled by David Viviano, a Republican appointed by fellow Republican governor Rick Snyder creating a 5-2 majority.[4]

The current Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court are:

Justice Term began Term expires Reaches
Age 70
Appointing Governor Party Affiliation Law School Attended
Stephen J. Markman (Chief Justice) Oct. 1, 1999 Jan. 1, 2021 June 4, 2019 John Engler / Elected Republican University of Cincinnati College of Law
Brian K. Zahra Jan. 15, 2011 Jan. 1, 2023 January 9, 2030 Rick Snyder / Elected Republican University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Bridget Mary McCormack Jan. 1, 2013 Jan. 1, 2021 July 23, 2036 Elected Democratic New York University Law School
David F. Viviano Feb. 27, 2013 Jan. 1, 2025 December 18, 2041 Rick Snyder / Elected Republican University of Michigan Law School
Richard H. Bernstein Jan. 1, 2015 Jan. 1, 2023 November 9, 2044 Elected Democratic Northwestern University School of Law
Kurtis T. Wilder May 9, 2017 Jan. 1, 2019 April 26, 2029 Rick Snyder Republican University of Michigan Law School
Elizabeth T. Clement Nov. 17, 2017 Jan. 1, 2019 October 8, 2047 Rick Snyder Republican Michigan State University College of Law

See also


Further reading

  • Noto, Scott A. (2001). A Brief History of the Michigan Supreme Court. Lansing: Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society. 
  • Chardavoyne, David; Moreno, Paul (2015). Michigan Supreme Court Historical Reference Guide, 2nd Edition. Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press. ISBN 1611861551. 

Coordinates: 42°44′01″N 84°33′56″W / 42.733664°N 84.565431°W / 42.733664; -84.565431

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.